Thursday, April 18, 2013

How clear do we see our internet needs? (Clear internet review)

Clear wireless connection speed in Brooklyn NY

In this world of high traffic of information is good to know that there are many choices out there. However, we have to be very careful with what we get into.

This month I went through the unfortunate event of losing my internet connection entirely. I was looking for other options and this company definitely called my attention. Their modem is super small which allow me to hold it in one hand and nobody even notice that I'm carrying an internet modem with me. Something else that called my attention was the fact that it was $49.99. Ok I understand, it's somewhat regular to expensive price for internet in the USA. In the case of Clear Wireless it was expensive. At this stage of Technology DSL the fastest internet introduced after the death of 56KB/s Dial up is currently 14.99/mo to 30.00 a month. It's still pretty decent speed compared to some services. So what can you expect of $49.99? the best internet possible.
IMW-C910W Clear hotspot limited edition
I like to always look at all sides of stuff and so let's take a look at the good and the bad of having Clear Wireless internet services.

  • The modem is super small it fits perfectly on pockets, bag or similar packaging
  • Ease of acquisition. I got mine out of the supermarket down the street, it available almost everywhere you can pretty much shop it with your bread. Watch out, don't eat it with your bread.
  • Ease to sign up I didn't even show an ID 
  • No contract so I can quit any time which I actually did
  • Take it on the road. Since it uses 4G signal, this device can be taken on the road, let's say you have low data plan on your cellphone and you still need a GPS system which you don't have on your car but your cellphone do, this is a great tool to take on the road
  • Flat rate just like any regular internet
  • Good for web browsing

I felt cheated I was promised I could game online games like call of duty for example. I was promised somewhere I read about 7MB/s download speed. I barely made it past 2MB/s and that was in New York City. The picture above showing the speed was taken when I was using nothing but my computer. I was told I could plug up to 8 devices on this internet, I plugged my computer and some sites were loading at some decent speed, I decided to watch Netflix at the same time on my playstation. I saw the system reloading the movie for better quality. I ended up watching the movie in Standard definition despite being HD, then I decided to give my cellphone data plan a break by switching to WiFi mode. At this point I am amazed to see how slow google is actually loading. If you want to test how slow your connection is, just try to load the simplest website in the world which is pretty much a blank screen with couple of buttons. By the time my girlfriend plugged in her Nook tablet, I lost connection or couldn't connect to the server in many cases.
I called customer support and the service was extremely horrible, I ended up super upset and hanging up the phone on the guy's face literally.
After so much bad service, I couldn't believe that 15 days after officially started my internet plan I got a survey which I filled up with honest answers including I'm not recommending this service to my friends and family. I went as far as to say that this technology would be loved in 2001 making Clear the best internet provider in the planet but not in 2013.
Horrible for video streaming: I pretty much stopped all activities on youtube including uploading videos. It took me 1 hour and a half to upload a 5 minutes video to youtube.
When I was done with them I couldn't find a cancel button, I had to call them again. This time thankfully some very sweet young lady answered the phone. Instead of me saying I'm done, I'm out, maybe 5 minutes and that's it. I went 15 minutes into this conversation I felt I was smoothly being pushed into keeping the service despite having a faster internet at home. I basically told her my new service provider, my speeds and OH yeah since she got me a little pissed with that, I compared my new speed with the old speed.
Optimun Online my new-old provider. Notice the speed jump
Remember I told you I took the speed check with the hotspot from Clear and my computer only? Well this one is more unfair I had 2 cellphones, my PS3 and the computer plugged to the wireless and a smart TV to the wired connection. I am not the sole user of this I don't know who else was connected. I am not promoting Optimum online, you can get very similar speeds with Time Warner Cable (in New York, check with your provider to see what they can offer) However this isn't even the fastest yes I have internet faster than 62% of USA but there's a group that is faster that's Verizon Fios customers, also even faster as fast as 1GB/s is Google Fiber (available only in Kansas as of now) Google Fiber cost about $70/mo and 120/mo with TV. I have a cheaper, when unbundled is about U$54.99/mo. Ok I was paying $49.99/mo, Wasn't I supposed to get at least 9MB/s down per 1.00MB/s up and justify the missing speed on the fact that I can take this internet to the road?
Another lesson I learned during internet downtime which was actually caused for a faulty wireless router is that  wireless routers get old, they are not intended to be used by our children and grandchildren (supposing you are 16-30 with not kids yet) I have the very same service from last month and last month when I ran the speed test I was getting 7MB/s downstream per 0.95MB/s upstream. The router in use was a 10 years old WRT54GL from Linksys and I didn't know the wireless modems had a top speed which was reached. I'm now using a Netgear N600 which actually has a top wireless speed of 300MB/s so don't cheat yourself away of speed you are paying for, make sure you know what's your router's speed, specially when is at least 5 years old.

In conclusion, Clear has a lot to improve on if they mean to compete and or be relevant in this advanced world. Youtube, and many others video sites are very popular for any person with access to the internet and if they can't get what they want, there would be more blogs about this popping up every single minute. Be very careful what you pick, invest your money wisely.

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